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Arizona

May 22, 2008

House Bill 2670: Raises Compulsory School Attendance Age from to 18

Sponsor:
Representitives Prezelski, Ableser, Farley Gallardo, Campbell, Lopes, Lopez, Reagan, Schapira, Sinema, Thrasher, Aboud, Pesquiera, and Soltero

Summary:
A compulsory attendance bill has been introduced in the House which would increase the compulsory age from 16 to eighteen 18 of age. If passed, House Bill 2670 would require children to attend school two years longer than they are currently required to.

This bill would force many students back into the school system who do not want to be there. Taxes will inevitably go up to pay for the cost of two more years of compulsory school attendance and for facilities to deal with difficult students.

House Bill 2670 would also restrict a parent’s ability to decide whether his child is ready for the workplace.

Homeschool parents would be required to continue to report their home education program until children reached the age of 18. The bill would also make it more difficult for those working hard for early graduation, and a jumpstart on college.

Status:

1/24/2008Introduced

This bill died when the legislature adjourned.

HSLDA's Position:
HSLDA is opposed to H.B. 2670.

Action Requested:
No action is requested at this time.

Background:
This bill would also require students to attend school until the last day of the school year in which they turn 18.

Some of the problems with raising the compulsory attendance age are listed below.

Raising the compulsory attendance age from 16 to 18 would subject Arizona home educators to the requirements of the homeschool two years longer than now required. (You do not need to share this reason with your legislators.)

Raising the compulsory attendance age will not reduce the dropout rate. In fact, the two states with the highest high school completion rates, Maryland at 94.5% and North Dakota at 94.7%, compel attendance only to age 16. The state with the lowest completion rate (Oregon: 75.4%) compels attendance to age 18. (Figures are three-year averages, 1996 through 1998.)

Twenty-nine states only require attendance to age 16. Older children unwilling to learn can cause classroom disruptions and even violence, making learning harder for their classmates who truly want to learn.

It would restrict parents’ freedom to decide if their 16-year-old is ready for college or the workforce. (Some 16-year-olds who are not academically inclined benefit more from valuable work experience than from being forced to sit in a classroom.)

Another significant impact of expanding the compulsory attendance age would be an inevitable tax increase to pay for more classroom space and teachers to accommodate the additional students compelled to attend public schools. When California raised the age of compulsory attendance, unwilling students were so disruptive that new schools had to be built just to handle them and their behavior problems, all at the expense of the taxpayer.

For more information on compulsory attendance, please see our Issues Library page on compulsory attendance age legislation.

 Other Resources

Bill Text ( requires Adobe Acrobat Reader)

Bill History